LSU beats Southeastern Louisiana, 6-5, on single by Mathis and some Todd Peterson power

Staff Report
LSU pitcher Todd Peterson  reacts after the third out as he walks off the field during the eighth inning of a Southeastern Conference tournament NCAA college baseball game against Mississippi State on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

BATON ROUGE — New catcher Brock Mathis singled in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning, and closer Todd Peterson shut the door as No. 1 LSU beat Southeastern Louisiana, 6-5, Tuesday night in Alex Box Stadium.

Freshman Giovanni DiGiacomo scored from third on the hit by Mathis, a sophomore who transferred from Northwest Florida State Junior College. DiGiacomo singled to lead off the inning and stole second. A sacrifice bunt by Chris Reid moved DiGiacomo to third, bringing up Mathis.

Peterson (2-0) pitched the final inning and a third to get the win and struck out two with a fastball in the high 90s.

"What can you say about Todd Peterson? That was as electric as you'll ever see," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "He was hitting 98. Todd showed that he can be a premier closer."

Junior Matthew Beck threw the fifth and sixth innings without allowing a hit and struck out one. Freshman Cole Henry started, but allowed three earned runs on seven hits in two and two-thirds innings.

LSU (4-0) received a scare when junior shortstop Josh Smith was hit in the face in the seventh inning by Southeastern starter Trey Shaffer, who let a breaking ball get away from him. But Smith he shook it off and finished the game, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

"My heart was in my throat," Mainieri said. "How tough is he? He took one right in the chops. But he looked OK. His bite looks good. Hopefully, he'll be able to shake it off and in a couple of days be ready to go Friday. He's tough."

LSU hosts Bryant in a three-game series Friday through Sunday. The Tigers' scheduled game at Northwestern State Wednesday night was postponed to March 12 because of bad weather in the forecast in Natchitoches. 

Sophomore Eric Walker was expected to pitch in relief Tuesday after not getting that start at Northwestern State, but he was not in uniform at the game because of a stomach bug, Mainieri said.

Southeastern fell to 0-4 as reliever Jared Biddy took the loss to fall to 0-2.

The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Brennan Breaud singled and later scored on an error by Daniel Cabrera in left field on Preston Faulkner's double. LSU took a 2-1 lead in the first on a RBI singles by Zach Watson and Saul Garza.

Southeastern tied it at 2-2 in the top of the second on a solo home run by Nick Ray off Henry. LSU went back up by 3-2 in the second on a hit batsman by Shaffer, a Smith single and two wild pitches by Shaffer.

The Lions took a 4-3 lead in the third on a two-run double by Ray, who finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs. LSU tied it 4-4 in the third on a RBI double by Drew Bianco.

Southeastern took the lead for a third time in the fourth on on RBI grounder by Nathan Pilluti that scored Preston Faulkner, who had doubled to lead off.

LSU tied it 5-5 in the seventh. After Smith was hit by the pitch to lead off, he reached second on a bunt by Brandt Broussard and later scored on a RBI ground out by Antoine Duplantis, who has 11 RBIs on the season.